Pierre Lieutaghi’s Trees, is a unique book focusing on the beauty and power of trees. The author’s stated aim is to “highlight the unique character of trees in all their amazing variety, as well as to evoke wonder and to encourage readers to reflect on the urgency of conservation…” and he does this well by means of dazzling photographs and an insightful text. Reading this book is an eye-opening experience that creates a whole new respect for the importance of trees in our lives.
The book is divided into five sections beginning with a simple, non-technical discussion on the botany of trees drawing on examples from around the world such as the Baobab of Madagascar, Eucalyptus on Phillip Island in Australia, and the remains of Acacia erioloba in the Namib Desert. After a presentation of the unique characteristics of the major groups of trees the author turns to the benefits of trees to the environment including the reduction of atmospheric pollution, gas exchange, climate modification, soil improvement, and water management. A consideration of the relationship between animals and trees leads to an examination of the relationship of humans and trees including their importance in daily life and their role in mythology, religion, literature, and landscaping.
The text is easy to read and provides a wealth of intriguing details to stimulate thinking. The photographs are beautiful and capture the message of the book, the beauty and power of trees. Best of all is the diversity of the trees shown and the way their unique qualities are highlighted. This is a great book for people who love trees and even for those that don’t.